Fall 2017

Mixed Media

Our Books and Creative Milestones

BOOKS

A Tangled Mercy

A Tangled Mercy Lake Union Publishing
Kate Drayton, a floundering history grad student, leaves Harvard mid-lecture for her birthplace, Charleston, South Carolina, where she hopes to uncover the role of an obscure blacksmith in a failed 1822 slave rebellion. She’s also chasing her own ghosts, trying to determine why both her parents left Charleston, and why her late mother seemed disturbingly obsessed with the city for the rest of her life. Kate’s experience pivots around the African Methodist Episcopal Church, where the revolt’s leaders worshipped, and where a devastating, racially motivated shooting happened nearly two hundred years to the day later. Threading a contemporary mystery through a historical novel, Joy Jordan-Lake, AG94, AG01, gives readers Dickensian characterization and plot twists, as well as a haunting contemplation of our country’s thorny relationship with race.

 

Brooks

The Golden Shovel Anthology: New Poems Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks The University of Arkansas Press
In 1950 Gwendolyn Brooks became the first black woman to receive a Pulitzer Prize for poetry. This beautiful and distinctive anthology, edited by Peter Kahn, A89, Ravi Shankar, and Patricia Smith, celebrates her work through the dynamic “golden shovel” form. In this form, developed by the poet and National Book Award–winner Terrance Hayes, the poet chooses a line from an existing poem and puts each word of that line, in order, at the ends of each line of a new poem. So the new poem becomes both an homage to the existing poem and a way of expanding on it—reading the verses from left to right as usual yields the new poem, but reading them from top to bottom down the right margin of the page, we discover the existing poem that the poet has chosen. The Golden Shovel Anthology includes fresh, revelatory golden shovel works by such poets as Nikki Giovanni, Rita Dove, and Billy Collins. They use lines from “We Real Cool,” “The Mother,” “The Bean Eater,” and sixty other Brooks poems.

 

NH Mental Hospital

Under a Dark Eye: A Family Story Texas Tech University Press
Sharon Dunn, J68, grew up on the grounds of the New Hampshire State Mental Hospital, where her psychiatrist mother served as the clinical director. Yet the biggest mysteries of her childhood had less to do with troubled hospital residents than with her irascible father, Gilbert, who never graduated from high school or provided an income. Gilbert cast a pall over his family with his harshness and relentless criticism. Why did his accomplished wife put up with it? And how did Gilbert become so damaged in the first place? Dunn attempts to answer these questions in this probing hybrid of memoir, social history, poetry, and detective story. She delves into letters, journal entries, photos, military records, and census data to make sense of her enigmatic father’s life and the forces that shaped her parents’ troubled marriage. Under a Dark Eye looks beyond the heroic exploits of the greatest generation and its prosperous postwar world to find more complicated stories of emotional deprivation and thwarted hopes that are equally worth telling.

 

Decoding

Decoding Silicon Valley: An Insider’s Guide
Jonathan C. Baer, A76, E76, and Michelle E. Messina cut through the hype and mythology in Decoding Silicon Valley: An Insider’s Guide. Featuring interviews with more than two dozen entrepreneurs, service professionals, and venture capitalists, the book offers colorful on-the-ground anecdotes and suggests best practices for growing companies. It’s a must-read for anyone hoping to learn how the tech hub really works.

 

Currency Conflict and Trade Policy: A New Strategy for the United States Peterson Institute for International Economics
Disagreements over currency valuations have become a prominent part of the broader attack on globalization. In Currency Conflict and Trade Policy, C. Fred Bergsten, F62, FG69, and Joseph Gagnon analyze the economics and politics of this complex issue. They also provide a practical definition of currency manipulation and an objective test of exchange-rate policy.

 

Rabbi Akiva: Sage of the Talmud Yale
The latest volume in the award-winning Jewish Lives series, Rabbi Akiva: Sage of the Talmud by Barry W. Holtz, A68, is a vivid biography of the rabbi who helped shape a new direction for Judaism after the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70 C.E.

 

Defining Sport: Conceptions and Borderlines Lexington Books
Edited by Shawn E. Klein, A95, the intriguing Defining Sport: Conceptions and Borderlines inspires debate on what qualifies as a sport—Does skateboarding count? Do videogames?—and considers topics such as the cultural significance of bullfighting and the explosion of fantasy football.

 

Nover to Return

The Baseball Trip
In The Baseball Trip by Greg Longtine, E89, four friends search for meaning as they attempt to visit as many minor league ballparks as they can. Their quest is framed by the seven deadly sins, but they discover virtue in savoring the journey.

 

Never to Return Lyons Press
Never to Return by Randall Peffer and Dr. Robert Nersasian, A65, D69, DG72, recounts the worst combat loss in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard. During World War II, the USS Leopold, a destroyer escort for a convoy of merchant ships carrying war material to England, was torpedoed by a U-255 off the coast of Iceland. Nersasian’s brother, Sparky, was the ship’s gunner.

 

The Good Fight

The Good Fight: The Feuds of the Founding Fathers (and How They Shaped the Nation) Knopf
Even children are aware of how contentious our current political climate is. Aimed at middle schoolers, this absorbing read by Anne Quirk, AG86, provides some comforting historical perspective. Quirk tells the story of our nation’s birth through four pivotal conflicts: between George Washington and King George III; Benjamin Franklin and his loyalist son, William; John Adams and Thomas Jefferson; and Alexander Hamilton and “history.”

 

Crooked

Crooked: Outwitting the Back Pain Industry and Getting on the Road to Recovery Harper
Cathryn Jakobson Ramin, J78, spent years and a small fortune trying to resolve her lower back pain. Her experience inspired Crooked: Outwitting the Back Pain Industry and Getting on the Road to Recovery, an eye-opening investigation into the expensive, ineffective, often harmful, and sometimes illegal practices common in spine medicine.

 

The Better-Than-Takeout Thai Cookbook Rockridge Press
In this cookbook, Danette St. Onge, J98, shares know-how and recipes that she learned in the kitchen of her family’s restaurant and around her mother’s table.

 

The House on Crooked Pond

The House on Crooked Pond iUniverse
This collection of novella-length stories by M. L. Shafer, J60, is about one family’s adventures across three centuries in an isolated house on Cape Cod.

 

Betrayal at Iga Seventh Street Books
Susan Spann, J92, sets Betrayal at Iga in Japan circa 1565. A master ninja and a Jesuit priest team up to find a murderer and avert a war between ninja clans.

 

Brown and Blue and Greek
From the founding of Zeta Psi in 1855, to literary groups and drinking clubs, to the rise of black, Latino, and multicultural fraternities and sororities, Brown and Blue and Greek by Charles J. Trantanella, E89, puts forth the definitive history of student organizations at Tufts.

 

Water in May

Water in May Amulet
Former pediatric cardiologist Ismée Williams, M99, recently debuted her young adult novel Water in May about a brave pregnant teen who faces life-changing decisions when her baby is discovered to have a potentially fatal heart defect.

 

Landing Internships and Your First Job: Why Qualifications Are Not Enough
After successful careers in Silicon Valley and on Wall Street, Jerome Wong, E85, founded Real World Experts to teach college students how to get jobs. In Landing Internships and Your First Job: Why Qualifications Are Not Enough, he explains how to effectively communicate your brand value, develop creative networking techniques, and figure out what common interview questions are really trying to get at.

 

MUSIC

One for Marian Thirteenth Note Records
Celebrated pianist Roberta Piket, J88, honors piano legend Marian McPartland on One for Marian, produced for Thirteenth Note Records by Todd Barkan. McPartland, who died in 2013, was an accomplished jazz stylist and beloved public radio host. Piket and her sextet interpret McPartland’s relatively unheralded original compositions with lush arrangements that grew out of a concert Piket organized for the 2014 Wall Street Jazz Festival.

 

Ghost on the Car Radio Candy House Media
Texas folk musician Slaid (Richard) Cleaves, A87, recently released his thirteenth album, Ghost on the Car Radio. The album is Cleaves’ first recording issued on vinyl and the first to be released on his own label, Candy House Media. Ghost on the Car Radio channels the Guthries in songs such as “Little Guys” and “Take Home Pay” that tackle the struggles of working folks. It also serves up commentary and comfort for our troubled times with the haunting melody and incisive lyrics of “Drunken Barber’s Hand,” penned by Cleaves’ friend Rod Picott: “I don’t need to read the papers or tea leaves to understand, this world’s been shaved by a drunken barber’s hand.”

 

TV

The Food Flirts PBS
Denise Drower Swidey, J90, is the supervising producer of the new PBS series The Food Flirts. The Brass Sisters, two passionate foodies and cookbook authors “of a certain age,” charm their way into the kitchens of renowned chefs, where they make multicultural dishes such as pastrami ramen-noodle kugel and dosa cheeseburgers.

 

DOCUMENTARY/DIGITAL FILM

The Secret Lives of Muslims
The Emmy-nominated digital series The Secret Lives of Muslims will return for a second season, thanks to funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and other donors. Directed and produced by Joshua Seftel, A90, and distributed by Vox, USA Today, Upworthy, and more, the brief films profile prominent Muslim figures—including New York Times bestselling author Reza Aslan and actor and comedian Maz Jobrani—with humor and empathy.